Richard Reeves
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Economy-Friendly Families or Family-Friendly Economy?

Chapter in Family Fortunes: The new politics of childhood

Synopsis

If social democracy is to mean anything, it has to mean improving the wellbeing, security and life chances of children. Many governments, not least the New Labour administrations, have been keen to encourage or cajole single mothers into the labour market. The social and economic case for these policies is strong; paid work is indeed the surest route out of poverty. But some of the political rhetoric has contributed to a perception that it is family life that needs reform, rather than the workplace. The assumption is that parents should be in paid work; that the jobs will be of a traditional, full-time nature; and that educational and childcare institutions must be built around these realities. All of these trends, taken together, mean that rather than creating a family-friendly economy we are busily creating economy-friendly families.

 
  Chapter in Family Fortunes: The new politics of childhood
 

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